Arnold Names New Leader to Manage McDonald’s Biz

Havas’ Arnold has hired 30-year industry veteran Gary Steele as managing partner/ executive director to oversee the shop’s McDonald’s co-op business that spans 2,500 restaurants in 16 regional groups.

Steele will ultimately succeed managing partner Tom Lawson, the longtime McDonald’s point man at Arnold, following a period of transition, and report to Arnold CEO Fran Kelly.

Lawson has no immediate plans to retire, and he will stay with the agency until at least 2010 in a senior management capacity.

Steele joins Arnold from WPP Group’s Enfatico, the shop set up by the U.K. holding company to absorb Dell’s global marketing assignment, which it won at the close of 2007. He had been global transition officer and helped develop the new agency’s general structure. Prior to that, Steele spent 18 years at McCann Erickson and Bates, working on Wendy’s national and local marketing business, an account ultimately worth $400 million. He also has experience on Burger King.

Lawson praised Steele as “one of the most knowledgeable agency leaders in the fast food restaurant sector” and “a champion of excellent client service and creative.”

Steele described McDoanld’s as “a brand I have long respected. I look forward to applying my knowledge of the retail and fast-food sector to help move its business forward.”